(September 3, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – For the second straight match No. 2 seed Victoria Azarenka was forced to rally from a set down to advance at the US Open. The Belarusian defeated 2008 French Open champion and No. 13 seed Ana Ivanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday in a tennis match pushed back due to rain.
The match will not be remembered as one with the good shot execution. Azarenka hit 9 double faults and 30 unforced errors to Ivanovic’s 8 double faults and 42 unforced errors. There were a total of 16 service breaks during the 2 hours and 10 minute match.
In the first set the Serb Ivanovic dominated the play with her forehand. After that her service game vanished getting broken in nine of her last 11 service games.
The second set opened with five consecutive breaks of serve. The third set saw Azarenka hold serve, which was followed by four straight service breaks.
“In the second set, all of a sudden I couldn’t find my rhythm on the serve,” said the Serb. “Then towards the end of the third set I felt like I was serving well. The last game that she broke me, I really felt I did serve well and made a lot of first serves.
“But this was the probably the biggest difference.”
“I felt like I was playing much better in the third set than in the first,” said Azarenka. “I felt physically much better. I feel like the more a match goes on, the better I feel.”
Azarenka served for the march at 5-3 and was broken. She broke back to clinch the match on her fourth match point. She’ll play unseeded Daniela Hantuchova.
“I think Daniela is playing incredible tennis right now,” Azarenka said. “Really going so deep in the tournament. She’s a player who has been in these situations before with a lot of experience, a lot of motivation right now.
“And she has, you know, type of game that she’s a shot maker, so it’s going to be another tough battle of really taking your chances, you know, playing your game, and be in control.”
“I really played well,” Ivanovic said. “You know, I put her a lot under pressure, I felt. I think the biggest difference was the serve in the second set. My percentage went right down. This was the big difference, because, you know, I felt like I could break her, but it was very frustrating that I was losing my serve constantly.”
“It was a big battle,” Azarenka said. “That’s what I was expecting from Ana. I think she’s playing much, much better right now. Her level has showed a lot in this match. She came out firing with a lot of great shots and served really well.
“I felt like I wasn’t, you know, really executing and putting enough in the first set, but she definitely really was going for everything. It didn’t leave me much of room to kind of, you know, go for my shots.
“But I started to create more opportunities. In the end of the first set it was already turning around, but I slipped away a few opportunities.”
“I’m a fighter at heart, noted the world No. 2. “I never, never give up.”